His uncle, Coley O'Brien, played in the backfield at Notre Dame. So when Kevin Hogan emerged as a star quarterback at Gonzaga with all the credentials for success at the next level -- big arm, nimble feet, 6-foot-4 height and good grades -- he seemed a perfect fit for South Bend.
But Hogan never attracted attention from Notre Dame. Now a redshirt freshman quarterback at Stanford, Hogan nonetheless can do the Irish a huge favor Saturday when the Cardinal travel to Oregon.
With Oregon, Notre Dame and Kansas State remaining as the lone unbeatens in the BCS title-game picture, Hogan can help eliminate one.
In his first appearance two weeks ago at Colorado, Hogan produced five touchdowns and a field goal on his first six drives. In his starting debut Saturday against Oregon State, Hogan completed 22 of 29 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 11 times for 49 yards in a 27-23 victory.
"As good as you can expect for a young guy making his first career start," Stanford coach David Shaw said.
- Kevin Dunleavy